Get ready, Santa Barbara, because in a little over six weeks from now, April 7-9, the Lucidity Festival will return to our very own Live Oak Campground for its sixth and final gathering. This year, an estimated 5,000 enthusiastic participants will gather in the Santa Ynez Hills for the festival’s ultimate “Eudaimonia” incarnation.
Eudaimonia is a Greek word meaning “happiness rooted in virtue,” as described by festival co-founder Jonah Haas. In order to elaborate on the meaning of his words, Haas delved into the history of the Lucidity festival and its unique structure. Lucidity is part of a particular subset of large-scale festivals known as transformational festivals. Coined by Jeet-Kei Leung at a TEDTalk in 2011, the term refers “to events that [are] participatory, interactive, immersive and collaborative, integrating educational workshops, healing arts, music and dance and an inclusive approach to culture and spirituality.”
Further distinguishing Lucidity from the already narrow group of transformational festivals such as Burning Man or Lightning in a Bottle is its unique six-year story arc. Throughout Lucidity’s previous five lives, the gathering has woven a tale of what Haas calls, “personal and collective transformation, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey.” Haas and the rest of the festival’s family of co-owners released their collective brainchild upon the world back in 2012, and it has seen healthy annual growth in each succeeding year.
In addition to the three day weekend already packed with a killer music lineup featuring the likes of Ott, Delhi 2 Dublin, Dirtwire and Dirtybird Records’ Christian Martin, this year will feature a full week of six educational courses. The diverse set of topics includes Ayurvedic herbalism, designing and building with bamboo, creating your own personal mythology and dream council.
The courses are part of a movement within the Lucidity Festival called Lucid University. The University started at Lucidity two years ago, growing from one course on permaculture to last year’s five-course catalogue to the veritable cornucopia of knowledge we have before us today. When asked which course he was most excited for, Haas responded: “I’m most excited about the building and designing with bamboo class. It will be led by world [renowned] bamboo artist and architect Gerard Minikawa of Bamboo DNA.” Lucid University will soon become a year-round institution at Trillium in southern Oregon, and its goal is to foster a lifelong journey of learning and discovery within its participants; a lofty goal, but one that somehow seems possible within the magical folds of the Santa Ynez Hills.
The annual gathering features music, art, culture and so much more. From diverse, healthy and ethical food to massive themed villages to comprehensive and intriguing workshops, the festival seems to breathe with a certain life energy throughout each facet of its being. Among the event’s seven village themes are “Warriors Way,” offering workshops on self-defense and survival skills, a “Healing Sanctuary” featuring various holistic medicinal practices and the warm and snuggly “Lovers’ Nest,” which looks to be a setup for a gigantic cuddle puddle. There is also an outlet for kids at Lucidity in the “Family Garden,” in which children can experience the festival through structured workshops, playshops, art, music and food exhibitions. This April, thousands of curious souls will wander to a massive joining of spirits and of communal energy right here in Santa Barbara.
Haas describes it as “a heart opening experience” and “an opportunity to play, to grow and to dream.” When reflecting upon the events of the past few months, our current political landscape has proven taxing on the psyches of many of us here in Santa Barbara, and a rejuvenating experience like Lucidity could do us all a spot of good. For some, this massive festival may just be the next big party, for others it could be “the nurturing communal experience they’ve been yearning for” and for others still the path to their truly actualized self may lie within Lucidity’s oak-shrouded borders. Only those who venture to Live Oak Campground this April will know for sure.